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Cardinals Rally Falls Short In Cleveland

St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The Cardinals made things interesting, but they couldn’t complete the comeback. Stifled by Shane Bieber for most of the night, the Cards rallied for a few late runs after falling behind 4-0. Nolan Arenado and Lars Nootbaar registered sacrifice flies to make it a 4-2 game and Nootbaar drove in a run in the ninth to make it 4-3.

Nolan Gorman was the final hope and worked the count to 3-2. Unfortunately, he was called out on a pitch that was a little high, which ended the game. It’s yet another frustrating loss in what has been a turbulent season for the Birds so far.

On the bright side, the bullpen looked good tonight. I continue to be impressed by Chris Stratton and his ability to work quick innings. He retired all six batters he faced. Andre Pallante had a scoreless eighth as well, so it was at least encouraging to see the bullpen do well after having a day of rest yesterday. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details of tonight’s disappointing loss.

Libby Flashes Potential

For the first four innings, Matthew Liberatore was solid. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that things began to fall apart. By then, the damage had already been done and the Cardinals found themselves facing a 4-0 deficit.

But I think we got a good glimpse of what the future holds for Libby. Other than that one inning, he was solid. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have been very impatient with some of their young prospects, with Jordan Walker being a perfect example, and I just hope that they don’t make the same mistake with Liberatore after one bad start. I know he struggled in relief against the Dodgers, but I don’t think we should give up on him yet as a starter, especially with the trajectory Steven Matz is on.

The lefty recorded two strikeouts, walked two batters, and allowed five hits.

Missed Opportunities

Twice late in the game, the Cardinals had a chance to flip the script, and I thought they were going to do it. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Nolan Gorman was up with the bases loaded in the seventh, but popped out to Jose Ramirez to end the threat. Paul DeJong came up with two on and one out in the eighth after the Cardinals had chased Trevor Stephan, but Enyel De Los Santos got DeJong to ground into a double play.

This is a bit concerning, as it appears that the Cardinals have reverted back to their early season offensive struggles. This lineup has proven that it is more than capable of competing with any given pitcher, but all those missed opportunities certainly came back to haunt them.

Bad Umpiring

At this point, I’m just preaching to the choir when I say that the final strike call on Gorman was absolutely ridiculous. Robot umpires can’t come soon enough. To me, it seems like umpires are getting progressively worse and less accurate year after year, and the numbers will back that up.

The Cardinals looked like they were finally about to bust out and turn the game on its ear, but one bad call cost them the game. They certainly had their chances, but with Emmanuel Clase being as wild as he was and Nolan Arenado on deck potentially awaiting a two on, two out situation, I was confident that they were going to finally snap out of it.

Jack Flaherty takes the mound tomorrow as the Cards look to avoid their first series loss since the first weekend of May against the Tigers.